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Using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages to teach sign language to parents of deaf children

See more: CEFR

Article by Kristin Snoddon, Canadian Modern Language Review, August 2015


No formal Canadian curriculum presently exists for teaching American Sign Language (ASL) as a second language to parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. However, this group of ASL learners is in need of more comprehensive, research-based support, given the rapid expansion in Canada of universal neonatal hearing screening and the corresponding need for enhanced, early intervention service provision to families with deaf children. Inspired by parent sign language courses that have been developed in the Netherlands, the article outlines the rationale for and first steps toward developing a Canadian parent ASL curriculum framework that is aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The CEFR and its proficiency levels hold much promise for innovation in second language teaching and learning, as they are based in conceptions of the language learner as a social agent who develops general and particular communicative competences while achieving everyday goals.